Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Andrew Bosworth, Who Will Be Meta’s CTO Next Year, Acknowledges How Difficult It Will Be to Moderate the Metaverse

Hannah Murphy, Financial Times:

The man leading Facebook’s push into the metaverse has told employees he wants its virtual worlds to have “almost Disney levels of safety”, but also acknowledged that moderating how users speak and behave “at any meaningful scale is practically impossible”.

Andrew Bosworth, who has been steering a $10 billion-a-year budget to build “the metaverse”, warned that virtual reality can often be a “toxic environment” especially for women and minorities, in an internal memo from March seen by the Financial Times.

He added that this would be an “existential threat” to Facebook’s ambitious plans if it turned off “mainstream customers from the medium entirely”.

Perhaps the more personal qualities of augmented and virtual reality may pressure users into adopting more collegial and humane behaviour — but I have my doubts. This is debuting after an era where communications platforms like Facebook seemed to use 4chan as inspiration for their lenient community policies. It sure seems like in-person discussions are often modelled after more hostile online interactions. What is the interaction environment like in the uncanny valley?

It is unsettling to see how eager today’s technology and platform giants are to embrace mixed-reality interfaces for the future, while the software they ship today is buggy and the communications platforms implicitly encourage inflammatory discussions. Why should we trust any of them to get this right?